Monday, September 27, 2010

35 Weeks & Grateful

The doctor had me admitted into Labor & Delivery today to monitor the contractions I've been having.  I knew I'd eventually be sent home, but while I was hooked up to the IV and given some muscle relaxers to slow down the contractions, I had one thought:  gratefulness.

At the beginning of this year, I had no clue I'd be pregnant.  Every pregnancy is nothing less than a miracle and this one is especially miraculous because it was not even in our plans.  It is something I can't possibly take for granted.  On top of that, being able to carry this baby to at least 35 weeks is as astounding as getting pregnant in the first place.  I have known too many dear friends who have had difficulty conceiving and bringing a baby to term, that I cannot take this lightly.  So in spite of all the unknowns about the future, I'm humbled and thankful to be able to have this precious soul in my womb.  What a miracle.  What an honor.

So per doctor's orders, I'm "taking it easy" and enjoying the fact that God is putting His finishing touches on our son before we meet him at last.

I leave you with a picture of how we've been enjoying our time while we're still a family of four:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Outdoor Play - By Marcus Lee

Mom's been tired.  Baby brother's taking over her body, so she's been moving slower and hasn't been able to do the things I want her to.  She doesn't even take me to the park anymore because I'm no longer content to play in the sand for hours.  By golly, I want to climb the playground equipment, go down the slides, and do reps up and down the stairs!  The last time she took me to the park, poor Mama was huffing and puffing from helping me get around, and when we got into the car, she was almost as sweaty as Big Sis.  I wish I could do it all by myself, but for now, I need her help.

That's why she tries to get me to do sedentary activities at home.  But goodness, one can only do puzzles, color, and read for so long!  Even my favorite TV shows are getting old!  If she had it her way, Audrey and I would color for 5 hours straight while she lays down and shovels ice cream in her mouth.  I've been hearing her complain about dizzy spells from being on her feet too long and Dad's been wanting her to take it easy because when she does too much, she has a lot of what Daddy calls Toni Braxton contractions...or something like that.

But the other day, I did some strategic fussing and got her to let me play for reals.  After all, I'm a 3 year-old BOY and I need to get out!  So for the past few days, we've been able to let out some energy.  Thanks, Mom!

She managed to get all 32 pounds of me safely on my swing and then ordered Audrey to twirl me around.

I was a bit excited about this.

Saliva-worthy excitement.

We also did some neighborhood graffiti.

Audrey was pretty into it.

Like REALLY into it.

And we mingled with our neighborhood buds.

All Mom wanted to do was take pictures of us, as always.  But sometimes a boy has better things to do.

Like getting dirty.

And climbing.

And strutting.

So thanks, Mom, for getting your bottom off the couch and taking us out.  I appreciate it.  :-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This week, we've started shedding and reorganizing to make room for all the baby stuff.  All this physical preparation is a lot of work, but doesn't compare to the emotional and spiritual preparation ahead.

So far, the ultrasounds have been very encouraging.  But as I've mentioned before, we don't really know for sure if the baby is healthy.  We never did an amniocentesis to rule out Down Syndrome, and we never got a fetal MRI to find the molar tooth sign that indicates Joubert Syndrome.  This means that all we can do is pray and wait and see what the Lord has in store.

I have faith that no matter what, Jesus will be there.  Even if our worst fears come true, I trust that He will be there.  However, what I'm fearful of is my own heart.  I'm scared to see what will pour out of my soul if we face more challenges with this baby.  I remember the things I felt and the things I said during the darkest times with Marcus:

"I know God is using this for good, but I don't want what He wants.  I don't want Jesus.  I just want my baby to be okay.  Why is He doing this to us, to our son?  Why is He ripping my heart out?  Is He just trying to prove a point with me that He's sovereign?  Well I don't care.  I just want my son to be okay.  God doesn't love me, He just loves His own agenda."

I remember feeling so bitter at my Lord.  I thought it was cold-heartedly cruel of Him to inflict this pain, and yet to see Him ask me to "Consider it all joy when you face trials of many kinds" and to "Rejoice in the Lord always."  I loathed passages of scripture that asked me to respond to my trials in seemingly impossible ways.  His word burdened me and made me feel even farther away from His love.

But His Spirit gently reminded me of Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

My Father reminded me of His indescribable love shown through Christ.  While I was holding Marcus against my heart, He reminded me that He rejected His own Son.  He crushed Jesus, bruised Him, and abandoned His perfect beloved One at the cross while He bore all of my sin.  So if He gave up Jesus for my sake, why wouldn't He also lavishly provide everything else I need to live this life unto Him?

It was then that I threw my hands up to say, "Lord, if You want this trial in my life, You must also be the one to give me the faith to trust you through it.  I cannot possibly respond rightly or have joy in all of this.  So if You gave me Jesus, You must also give me the joy in the midst of this pain.  You must be the one to carry me through because I cannot survive this on my own.  You gave me the most precious gift of your Son to save me.  So please, Lord, please provide whatever else is necessary to grow in His grace.  I desperately need You."

And you know, the Lord answered abundantly.  He's allowed us to say, "Jesus is better" because through the heartache, we've known more of His love.  We've been able to cry out with David, "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." (Psalm 63:3)

So why am I so anxious about how I'll respond if this baby faces his own challenges?  It's because I know the depth of my sin and idolatry, how quickly I desert the One who gave Himself for me, and how easily I forget that Jesus is more than enough.  And so, I pray that the Lord will keep me near the cross and utterly take over my heart because I'm too weak to give it up to Him.  I pray that I'll remember how He's generously supplied "all things" and will continue to do so.  He abandoned His Son, but He'll never abandon me.  Lord, may Your Spirit cause me to remember that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thankful Friday

1. Mike's dad has been completely off supplemental oxygen for a few days now, which is a total change from the intubation tube that went down his trachea just a few weeks ago.  We praise God for that!  There are still things that come up everyday that are keeping the doctors from going further with the cancer treatment, but we are praying that these issues will be dealt with soon and that the oncologists can continue to be aggressive with the radiation and chemo if necessary.

2. Audrey has gotten into a good groove with going to school and though it's only been a week and a few days, there have already been many opportunities to shepherd her little heart.  This week, she got a taste of what it was like to be in the mean girl society, and it was humbling for us as parents to address this in her, as well as have her seek forgiveness from her classmate.  Thankfully, the other parent, who is also a believer, was SO gracious and it was so neat to be able to talk through the issue with the girls right after the incident happened.  We are so grateful for this friend at school, and we are already forging a relationship with her mom with a sweet like-mindedness.  Making good friends was top on the prayer list for me and it seems like the Lord is already answering.  What provision!  And even sweeter, we already have gotten through a little conflict and the girls are fast friends once again.

3. Marcus had a bi-annual neuro-ophthalmology appointment up in Pasadena yesterday.  One of Marcus' vision issues is called Ocular Motor Apraxia (OMA), which has less to do with visual acuity and more to do with tracking.  In order to track an object visually, he has to turn his head because his eyes aren't adept at following a moving object from side to side.  Two years ago, Dr. Borchert did an ERG on him and thus also diagnosed him with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which means that he most likely has little peripheral vision, trouble seeing in the dark, and degenerative eyesight.  This news was devastating to as we imagined our son eventually going blind, plus dealing with his other motor difficulties.  However, each subsequent visit has been an encouragement and yesterday, the doctor was thrilled to say the least.  He thinks Marcus is seeing even better now than he did before and had he not done an ERG, would think that Marcus' vision is fine.  He even wants to perform another ERG sometime next year to see what's really going on.  Mike and I were incredibly encouraged and thankful for the doctor's input and grateful that for now, Marcus' vision is one of his strengths.

4. While we were in the waiting room at the doctor's office, we saw Marcus do something he'd never done before.  He initiated play with another child who was not his sister!  He kind of has a thing for older girls, so he crawled over to a girl named Erin (who happened to be the same age as Audrey) and just sat next to her, waiting to play.

Girl:  Hi!  Do you want to play with me?
Marcus:  Yeah!  Yeah!

Then they proceeded to peacefully play with blocks together.

Girl:  What's your name?
Marcus:  Maw-Cuh

Mike and I watched them play together and our hearts welled up with thanks because it was the first time he spontaneously interacted with another child  outside our family and actually engaged in verbal exchange without any prompting from us.  We were as proud as if he had made the honor roll.  Can't wait to tell his Speech Pathologist.  She's gonna go wild!

5. Today we had our last ultrasound with the perinatologist.  It was our last time seeing him until next month when we see him in flesh and blood.  He plumped up a lot (supposedly 5 lbs. 5 oz) and his cheeks filled out like crazy.   Apparently, he wants to rock the 80's look for Halloween because he's already sporting a mullet.  :-)  The doctor said that there is nothing that shows up on the in-depth ultrasounds that is cause for concern, but that we will only know for sure after he is born.  We are excited to hold him, kiss him, care for him, and introduce him to the fan club at home.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thankful Friday

1. Mike's father is doing better than he was last week.  We are SO thankful that his breathing tube was taken out and that his pneumonia and viruses have been stabilized.  The doctors have re-started their aggressive treatment of the cancer with radiation and possibly another round of chemo in the coming week.  However, the tumor has hindered him from being able to speak and to eat/drink through his mouth, so they are inserting a feeding tube through his stomach.  We are asking the Lord to allow for the best results through the cancer treatment, and that it won't turn into a downward spiral again of all the health issues related to a weakened immune system.

2. Mike is back home and we are SUPER thankful that our family is whole again.  God really allowed him to have a blessed time with his parents and extended family, even though the days were long and hard.  I can't put into words what riches we have in having parents who love one another and trust in the Lord together.  Mike was so blessed by their faith and by their extreme fervency in prayer.

3. Marcus has been at his new school for over a month now, and he has yet to have a bad day there.  All his teachers and therapists say that he's happy, involved, cooperative, and a hard worker.  And they've even mentioned that he's a pretty popular kid and that everyone loves working with him.  Today, even the principal stopped me to say that she observed him in class and was impressed by his improving speech and his persistence at tasks.  As a parent, that just fills my heart with so much thanks!

When I get down, I get worried and think, "Where does Marcus belong in this world?"  But when I see him thriving at his school and being around other kids with challenges, I'm reminded that for now, this is where he belongs, and it's exactly where the Lord wants him.

4. Day #2 of Kindergarten was great!  Audrey didn't encounter the mean girl this time and even better, she has started to make some friends.  When I picked her up, she just HAD to show me her moves on the playground and she blabbed on about everything she did that day.  I was grateful for the good report.

5. The past 2 days, Marcus has noticed that Audrey hasn't been there to pick him up from school.  So after greeting me with a gigantic smile and a loud, "Mama!", he'll ask for his sister by repeating, "Noona, noona (big sister in Korean)".  He knows now that she's started school so today, he reminded himself, "Noona, kool (big sister's at school)".

So once they are reunited, the next hour is full of giggles and funny noises and screams to make up for their 3+ hours of separation.  It's loud and obnoxious, but music to my ears!  Brother-sister BFF!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kindergarten At Last

I feel like we've been talking about Kindergarten everyday for the past year and the day finally came.  Our baby went to school for the first time today.

Is this a nervous smile or what?

It was a relatively good first day, but there was a playground incident that caused her to sob when she got in the car after school.  It almost made both of us want to peel out of the campus parking lot, shake our fists at all the mean girls of the world and never ever come back!  But alas, it wasn't anything some prayer, lots of hugs, a mother-daughter heart-to-heart, and a little Chick-Fil-A couldn't cure.  We are armed and ready for day #2.

Something about sending my kids to school makes me feel so vulnerable.  I know, I know, it's only 3.5 hours a day, but that's 3.5 hours where I'm not there to protect her and where she has a whole life apart from home.   Day 1 of Kindergarten and I'm already getting all profound about sending my kids off into the real world.  But it's good.  Praying that going out in the real world will provide real-life opportunities for her little heart to trust in the Lord.

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